Land Mafia is Detrimental to Investments & Industrialization: Atif Ikram Sheikh

Karachi: Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that land mafia in Sindh has discouraged investments into industriesof the province; and, damaged the image of Pakistan as an investment destination. Law & order is the lifeline of investment, industrial, trade, logistics, commercial and economic activities, he added.

It is pertinent to note that Mr. Riffat Mukhtar Raja, Inspector General of Sindh Police, visited FPCCI Head Office in Karachi along with top leadership of Sindh Police; including, Mr. Khadim Hussain Rind, Additional IG Karachi; Syed Pir Muhammad Shah, DIG Establishment; Mr. Iqbal Dara, DIG Traffic and Syed Asad Raza, DIG South and Syed Ali Asif, Additional IG Admin.

Mr. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, SVP FPCCI, explained that we can unleash an industrial revolution in Sindh, if we can curb and eliminate land mafia from the province. He added that, due to criminal activities of the land mafia, new industrial areas are not attracting industries; and, instead, the industrial plots in established industrial areas in Karachi have become so expensive that they are now available at PKR. 400 million per acre. No new industry can afford these expensive plots and expansion of the existing ones is also hampered, he added.

Mr. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon apprised that incidents of extortion or bhatta after kidnappings have also witnessed an increase of over 300 percent as the figures show hat 50 incidents of extortion were reported in 2023; whereas 12 such cases had appeared in 2022 – reflecting a significant increase of 317 perent.

Mr. Zaki Aijaz, VP FPCCI, stressed that the business, industry and trade community is worried about the safety and security of goods transportation routes from Karachi to up country as there are widespread theft and security issues both ways; first, transporting imported raw materials from Karachi to other provinces and then transporting back the finished goods to Karachi for export.

Mr. Riffat Mukhtar Raja, IG Sindh Police, proposed that committees need to be formed under deputy commissioners to address the matters of land grabbing; and, representatives of all stakeholders from governmental institutions; law enforcement agencies and private-sector should be part of the committees. Deputy Commissioners are the custodians of land and revenue records; which make them take informed decisions – and, then law enforcement agencies can help implement those decisions, he added.

IG Police informed that learner’s driving licenses will now be made online and it will provide relief to the general public. He also apprised that the police wants to e-tag 25,000 repeat offenders of crimes; but, there are financial constraints as each e-tagging costs $400.